Quality

“Can I buy quality E&O insurance online?” That is a great question many financial professionals are asking themselves today. With insurance as important as professional liability, the last thing they want is a policy that leaves them unprotected when they need it most. They also don’t want to buy coverage that is confusing, hard to shop for, or too expensive.

To this end, online E&O insurance providers such as EOforLess.com have developed technology platforms that . . .

  • simplify the process of buying E&O,
  • allow low-risk financial professionals to buy it affordably, and
  • assure that all insurers and administrators involved in the program meet quality standards.

But the question is, which online E&O provider can be trusted to deliver?

The key is to carefully inspect every aspect of the firm’s online shopping platform to make sure it provides:

  • extensive coverage options,
  • ease of use, and
  • adequate post-sale support.

Visitors to EOforLess.com will quickly notice that it’s extremely easy to select the right policy, apply for coverage, and pay for it online. Within minutes, financial professionals can bind and print their E&O insurance in order to secure appointments with sales intermediaries and/or insurance carriers.

Solving the quality issue starts with selecting an appropriate policy type for a financial professional’s needs. At EOforLess.com, coverage is available for life & health agents, P&C agents, registered investment advisor representatives (RIAs), and real estate brokers & owners. For each business type, buyers can click through to evaluate different levels of coverage corresponding to their business model and regulatory license.

For example, life and health agents who manage a “vanilla” life practice—i.e., selling only life, accident, health insurance, and long-term care products—can select base-level coverage. However, those who sell all the above products plus fixed and indexed annuities can select a higher-level coverage.  Finally, those who sell all the above products, as well as variable life, variable annuities, and mutual funds, can select top-tier coverage. As they climb up the coverage “ladder,” the operating risks of that business model increase, which means the buyer’s E&O premium will rise accordingly.

For each business model/license type, EOforLess.com provides an informative coverage summary, along with a complete specimen policy via download. After reviewing the summary and specimen policy, E&O insurance purchasers will know exactly what they bought . . . and will have the confidence of knowing they will be protected should a client sue them.

Quality also manifests itself in how easy it is to buy E&O insurance online at EOforLess.com. Once they’ve picked the right coverage, financial professionals simply click the “Buy Now” button. This takes them to an easy, two-step purchase process:

  1. Enroll in the National Ethics Association (sponsor of EOforLess.com). This involves providing some basic information and submitting billing and payment option details for the membership.
  2. Apply for E&O coverage from EOforLess.com. This involves providing information about their business, as well as answering a short list of risk-assessment questions. If the agent qualifies, they simply purchase the policy they’ve selected and bind their protection.

Agents also have the ability to print a proof-of-coverage document immediately in order to show marketing intermediaries or insurance/investment firms that they have adequate E&O insurance protection.

Another quality indicator is the degree to which E&O buyers must shoulder a portion of their claim costs. At EOforLess.com, life and health agents will never pay for deductibles or for any other hidden fee.

At the end of the day, when they deal with EOforLess.com, life/health insurance agents, P&C agents, investment advisors, and real estate professionals will know they purchased quality E&O insurance for an affordable price, with minimal effort, in five minutes or less. What’s not to like about buying E&O insurance online?

Reliable

A quality E&O shopping experience doesn’t just involve being able to select the right coverage and to buy it easily and quickly online. It also involves having reliable post-sale support in the event financial professionals have a problem with billing or find themselves facing a client complaint and/or litigation.

In short, financial professionals have many different ways to buy E&O insurance online. But not all shopping platforms are created equal. To assure that they purchase the right coverage at an affordable price and that they get post-sale support, they should only deal with firms that have extensive experience, a commitment to provide an easy and convenient buying experience, and administrator and insurance carrier relationships that securely backstop the program. EOforLess.com succeeds on all these counts . . . and more.

Benefits of E&O Insurance

The benefits of E&O insurance for life agents fall into two different buckets. The first relates to the mistakes life agents make in the course of doing their traditional work. These mistakes, which involve doing the wrong thing or simply failing to act when action was required, crop up in every facet of a life agent’s job, including . . .

  • Assessing needs for life insurance, annuities, and related products.
  • Analyzing and recommending appropriate solutions.
  • Determining appropriate benefit amounts.
  • Performing periodic needs assessments.
  • Handling client service requests such as updating beneficiary elections.
  • Assisting in the filing of life insurance death claims.

Given the scope of these activities, the risk of life agents making a mistake is huge, which is why savvy agents purchase E&O insurance as a financial backstop.

The second bucket relates to a whole new aspect of the life agent’s job—serving as a fiduciary to their clients.  With the enactment of the U.S. Department of Labor’s fiduciary standard in 2016, which becomes effective in April 2017, life agents will be regulated as fiduciary advisors when they help clients with their Individual Retirement Accounts or with other tax-qualified pension plans. This means that for the first time, failure to serve their clients’ best interests could expose agents to additional liability—and potentially damaging legal judgments—for failing to uphold their fiduciary duty.

Because of this enhanced standard of care, life agents will soon have a greater need for high-quality E&O insurance coverage in the face of a much higher risk of doing business. Fortunately, contemporary E&O insurance provides excellent protection against both the standard and emerging risks of selling life insurance and related products.

E&O insurance from entities such as EOforLess.com provide money to deal with the aftermath of getting sued. This includes generating funds to pay for defense counsel, to cover the cost of legal judgments and settlements, and to reimburse the court for its costs. Depending on the client dispute at issue, coming out on the losing end of an E&O legal battle can cost life agents hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. Dealing with this financial burden without the benefits of E&O insurance can literally kill a life agent’s business, while potentially leading to a devastating personal bankruptcy.

E&O for Life Agents

Another reason why E&O for life agents is so important is that their work often contains inherent E&O tripwires. Here are five of them:

  • First, life agents often find themselves dealing with big-money engagements. For example, affluent clients might buy life insurance with multi-million-dollar face amounts in order to fund the passing of their estates tax-free to their heirs. If something goes awry with this transaction, agents can count on the survivors calling their attorneys shortly.
  • Second, clients have deeply held attitudes about their money . . . a money personality, if you will. If an agent does something to reduce a client’s net worth, it might not only be a blow to someone’s finances, but also to his or her sense of identity and self-esteem. This may in part account for the anger and animosity that fuel many client/agent legal battles, which become much larger than a dispute over money.
  • Third, many life agents not only must work with their clients, but also with their clients’ children. Whenever agents deal with multi-generational families, they can find themselves embroiled in differences of opinion between family members or face a child’s fury that the agent somehow wronged their parent. This is not a pleasant experience for agents.
  • Fourth, the life insurance industry is changing rapidly from a regulatory, product, and technology perspective. Agents who fail to keep up with an evolving marketplace leave themselves open to making mistakes. The last thing clients want to hear is that they lost money because their agent recommended an outdated product or made projections using the wrong software version.
  • Fifth and finally, life insurance agencies are leaner than ever before. Most have reduced their supervisory ranks so that agents have less oversight than in the past. This means clients are often the first people to detect agent mistakes. Agencies have also reduced their support staffs, forcing life agents to do their own paper work, which can lead to sloppy errors.

So however you look at it, today’s life agents operate in an extraordinarily risky environment, based on their traditional job functions, as well as on their emerging fiduciary duty. When you factor in the tripwires just discussed, doing business without comprehensive E&O insurance production is not a sensible strategy for any life agent who wishes to build a sustainable business. This is why an increasing number of them are taking advantage of new ways to buy E&O insurance online, especially from EOforLess.com.

Built by life agents for life agents (and other types of financial professionals), EOforLess.com offers a quick and convenient way for agents to buy affordable E&O insurance . . . and to bind and print their policy within minutes. By eliminating the traditional hassles of shopping for E&O insurance, EOforLess.com has helped thousands of professionals to get insured who may have gone unprotected in the past. This is truly a win-win for all concerned.

Buy E&O Insurance Online Fast

Years ago, financial professionals could only dream of being able to buy E&O insurance online fast. They needed this capability in order to secure appointments with field marketing intermediaries and insurance companies. However, at a time when insurers lacked the technology to issue policies online, they forced insurance and financial advisors to buy E&O insurance through brokers using paper applications. This took weeks to process and required the development of proposals that added even more time to the buying process.

Hobbled by antiquated technologies and methods, the E&O insurance industry became a drag on financial professionals wishing to close sales opportunities rapidly in order to grow their bottom lines. Fast forward to today. Now, the emergence of online E&O buying platforms helps producers to find the coverage they need and to buy it in minutes. This has transformed E&O insurance from a sales barrier to a sales accelerant.

Think about it. In today’s marketplace, customer business models can change rapidly. This means their business risks can evolve quickly, too. When a client firm faces a new, exotic risk, they need their insurance agent to be able to quickly find appropriate coverage. The problem is, to access this coverage, agents need to secure carrier appointments to source specialty coverage. Since insurance companies typically require E&O insurance from their agents and brokers, a producer who is uninsured, but who wishes to pursue a sales opportunity, must find, qualify for, and bind E&O ASAP. Enter EOforLess.com, a pioneer in online E&O buying for financial professionals of all stripes.

Click & Bind Your Policy

Thanks to EOforLess.com, insurance and financial advisors in hot pursuit of a sales lead can now visit the site, sponsored by the National Ethics Association, to select appropriate, affordable E&O insurance protection for their business. Thanks to the site’s user friendly design, they can literally select an appropriate policy, set up their account, and pay for it in a mere matter of minutes. To help speed their ability to secure carrier appointments, agents can bind their coverage and print their proof of insurance in just a few minutes more. Talk about empowering agents to pursue sales opportunities. At  EOforLess.com, agents can buy E&O insurance and then convert sales leads into commission income quicker than ever before.

Print Your E&O Policy Today

Once financial professionals select and pay for their E&O insurance on EOforLess.com, they’re done, right? Wrong. As discussed earlier, many agents today must provide proof of insurance to their marketing intermediaries (IMOs, FMOs, RIAs, etc.) or insurance carrier before they can actually submit a client’s policy application. Consequently, they need to be able to bind their coverage and print their E&O policy right away so they don’t freeze their sales opportunities and delay their commission checks.

Traditionally, getting a printed policy or other proof of insurance could take days, if not weeks. Agents would be at the mercy of their E&O insurer’s new-business department, which typically used paper applications and manual procedures to get business on the books. Now, thanks to the emergence of the Web and powerful e-commerce technology, you can bind your coverage and print your E&O insurance policy in five minutes or less. This can greatly enhance your ability to nail down carrier appointments—and to get your customers’ insurance needs squared away as fast as possible. Most importantly, it accelerates the payment of your commissions and all the related benefits that income brings to your business.

How It Is Doneeoforless

Here’s how it is done in 5 minutes or less:

  1. Go to EOforLess.com.
  1. Determine which type of E&O insurance you need—life agents, P&C agents, RIAs, or Real Estate Brokers—and then click “See Plans” for your specific license type.
  1. Determine which coverage level you need to purchase. For example, if you’re a life/health agent who only sells those plans, you can opt for base coverage. But if you also sell annuities, variable life/annuities, or mutual funds, you will need to upgrade to a higher protection level. After selecting your policy, click “Buy Now” to initiate the 2-step purchase process.
  1. Step 1 will create your account with the National Ethics Association – the group-rate sponsor for EOforLess. Here you will establish your payment and billing-frequency for your membership. Now click “Pay & Proceed to Bind Your E&O”.
  1. Step 2 will take you through a series of underwriting questions. If you can successfully answer each of these, you may qualify for this preferred-risk policy. Next, you will establish your payment and billing frequency for your policy coverage, and provide your electronic signature for confirmation. Click “Pay” to bind your coverage.
  1. Finally, you will have the option to download and print your proof of insurance.

In short, at EOforLess.com you can buy E&O insurance online fast. Using the firm’s advanced online technology, you can handle every step of the buying process, not just partial steps. You can select, bind, and then print your policy in five minutes or less in the convenience of your home or office.

For insurance and financial professionals whose time is too precious to shop the old-fashioned way, EOforLess makes buying professional liability insurance quick, convenient, and affordable. Why spend extra time buying E&O insurance the old-fashioned way when you can do it in minutes—and use the time you saved for expanding your business or serving your clients? For most financial professionals, buying E&O insurance online has become a no-risk way to save time and money. What about you?

Buy E&O Insurance Fast Today!

E&O Insurance for Your Business

Do you need E&O insurance for your business? Almost all financial professionals ask themselves this question at one point or another in their careers.  Many answer, “yes” because they perceive themselves to be operating in dangerous times.

Think about it. Insurance and financial advisors deal with complex client needs—savings for retirement, protecting estates, insuring valuable property, etc.  The products they sell can be difficult to understand and explain. Marketplace volatility can produce client losses. And the manufacturers of insurance and financial-services products can fail to stand behind their promises to both the people who sell their offerings and the ultimate consumer. Take all these factors into account and what do you have?  An extraordinary degree of risk for insurance and financial advisors doing business today.

As a result, financial professionals must ask themselves how comfortable they are dealing with such risks. Are they so confident in their expertise that they believe they’ll never make a mistake? Or do they realize that mistakes can happen to any financial practitioner at any time . . . even to those with high degrees of integrity and competence? If you fall into the latter camp, then you fully understand why buying E&O insurance for your business is a wise decision. It simply reflects the inherent risks implicit in doing business, as well as the impossibility of performing flawlessly with every client, in every transaction.

As if this weren’t disturbing enough, consider the types of mistakes financial practitioners are prone to make.

Worst-Case Scenario

According to one major E&O insurer serving the life/health insurance segment, there are at least 11 potential mistakes an agent can make. They range from . . .

  • misrepresentation,
  • due diligence problems,
  • premium errors,
  • office mistakes,
  • failure to explain or provide coverage,
  • tax losses,
  • beneficiary-related mistakes,
  • policy change errors,
  • suitability issues, and
  • business management lapses.

Of all those mistakes the top three most common are misrepresentation (25 percent of the total errors), failure to provide coverage (13 percent), and failure to explain coverage and office errors (both tied at 11 percent).

Compounding the risk is this fact: E&O mistakes carry high price tags. For example, the same insurer found that the average cost of an E&O disability-insurance claim was roughly $149,000. For pension products and individual life policies, the average claim costs were $71,000 and $40,500, respectively. Worst-case scenario? Making multiple mistakes within a single customer account, which could add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal liability, potentially leading to the death of your business and a devastating personal bankruptcy.

Protectioneoforless

Faced with risks such as these, most savvy financial professionals decide that buying an E&O insurance policy is a wise decision. What exactly does an E&O policy provide? Simply put, it provides protection—money that cushions the costly financial aftermath in the event you lose a lawsuit in court. E&O insurance provides money . . .

  • to hire an attorney to defend you,
  • to pay for legal judgments and settlements, and
  • to pay for court costs levied in the proceeding.

By having E&O insurance, you avoid being personally liable for the direct and indirect financial costs resulting from your error or omission. Your E&O insurance policy should cover these obligations for you, up to your policy’s limits.

Two other benefits of E&O insurance are less obvious. The first is having an E&O insurance claims adjuster on your side to help manage the claim-settlement process. This can be an enormous time saver. The second is the fact that having E&O insurance for your business reduces your stress and worry should you ever get sued. Not only will you sleep easier at night, you’ll also have more time and energy to spend working on your business rather than hassling with a customer complaint or lawsuit.

Strategy

Given the risks and costs just discussed, what strategy should you follow to mitigate your E&O risks? Many experts suggest finding high-quality coverage, at an affordable price and then buying it in the most convenient way possible. To secure high-quality coverage, make sure the policy is designed to precisely accommodate the needs of your business model and license type. For example, if you provide investment-advisory services, then trying to save money by purchasing E&O coverage for life/health agents may be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Also be sure to read the specimen policy to see exactly how the insurer frames the “insuring clause” (what it promises to cover) and its exclusions (what it will not cover).

To secure affordable protection, investigate programs available through professional associations devoted to your business. Such protection is typically issued on a group basis and can be more cost-effective than individually issued policies.  Also, check to see if the E&O provider attempts to reward financial professionals who adhere to low-risk business practices. Typically, such insurers offer streamlined underwriting screens in which answering no to, say, 10 risk-assessment questions will qualify you for “preferred-risk” pricing. The savings in this case can be substantial.

Finally, consider whether you want to purchase your E&O insurance through a conventional insurance broker or on an online E&O insurance platform. The former method may be appropriate for advisors with complex businesses with large risks. But the downside of buying through a broker is that it will take more time for the person to submit a long application form to one or several carriers and then to receive a proposal back from. Buying through an online E&O provider is typically much faster. For example, at EOforLess.com, you can typically input your information, answer the underwriting questions, and then pay and bind your coverage in 5 minutes or less.

Whatever you decide, the important thing is that you protect your business against the many risks it faces in today’s risky environment.  If you want to assure your professional future, buying E&O insurance for your business is truly the most sensible way to go.

Buy E&O insurance for your business